Healthy Life: Behavioral Pain Management Program

By Ashley Hinson, Anchor/Reporter

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By Ashley Hinson

CEDAR RAPIDS - As someone who has worked in a Cancer Treatment office for years, Patty Seger knows pain.
"No matter how bad I feel on any given day, I don't need to look far to see someone who is in a lot worse situation than I'm in," says Seger.
But one day she woke up and that pain she saw in cancer patients.was her new reality.
"All kinds of weird sensations in the body. Mostly in my legs and feet but also in my hands and arms," Seger says. "It's real real bad, the pain is very bad. "
Seger suffers from what's called Peripheral Neuropathy. She had almost 3 years of intense pain with very few answers. "Especially when pain and medication enters so strongly into it, sometimes on your bad days, you only think, gosh, why is this happening to me. this is terrible," she says.
Her family doctor suggested she see a psychologist for an alternative therapy. Dr. Luke Hansen is a psychologist who specializes in therapy to help guide patients through painful illnesses.
Hansen says he focuses on the mind to help patients deal with pain. "We may not always be able to get the pain under control right away, or at a manageable level, but can we reduce the suffering?" He says the focus is to get the pain to interfere with their life as little as possible. "Help them to recognize and come to understand that there is the possibility that they're going to have to live with some degree of pain."
The focus isn't to try and get patients off pain medications. Dr. Hansen says that the therapy is proven to help in pain reduction, medication reduction, and even increased levels of activity when the therapy is combined with other treatments. Dr. Hansen uses a variety of techniques to connect the healing powers of a patient's mind with their body and spirit.
"Guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, meditation, self hypnosis," he says, describing some of the things he works through with patients.
For Seger, the treatment has helped. "Things have lightened up on occasion, and I haven't had that in almost 3 years." She tells TV-9 she has seen improvement in her outlook through the program. She says though, she can't really forget her neuropathic pain. "You can feel like you got hit by a truck from some of what goes on." That said, she takes the time spent with Doctor Hansen to put things in perspective. "In my life, I've had much more good than bad stuff, and I'm very grateful for that."
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